On the 11th of December 2023, the Automotive Campus in Helmond transformed into the epicenter of innovation and inspiration for the industry leaders and enthusiasts gathered for the AutoMEETive 'Next Generation' Winter Event.
The event, an annual congregation of the Dutch automotive industry and mobility sector, promised a deep dive into the developments in the European market, with a particular emphasis on the evolution of the labor market and the advent of a new generation of employees.
Helmond, 12 December 2023
Insights from Industry Leaders
AutoMEETive kicked-off with featured distinguished guest speakers Frits van Bruggen, Chairman of RAI Vereniging, Ingo Olschewski, Head of Strategy & Consulting at RWTH Aachen and Hendrik-Jan Guitink, Partner at AIMS International – Netherlands. They all shared their expertise, insights and opinion linked to the emerging generation of employees who are reshaping the workforce landscape.
Guitink underlines that in his story: “The Next Gen workforce is looking for leadership to have values like authenticity, connectivity and truth”.
The questions resonating throughout the day were: The future workforce, who are they? What do they expect from a company culture? These questions were addressed through insightful discussions and presentations aimed at uncovering the motivations and aspirations of this dynamic generation.
Focus on Sustainability and Innovation
The 'Next Generation' doesn't just bring a fresh perspective, they are also deeply committed to sustainability and innovation. Circular economy, decarbonization, and digitalization took center stage during the event. Attendees learned how this new generation is actively pushing for re-usable materials, reduced waste, and a greener automotive sector. Decarbonization is a priority for them, aligning with their emphasis on clean energy and reduced CO2 emissions. Moreover, they enthusiastically embrace digitalization, leveraging technological advancements for smarter and more connected mobility solutions.
One of the organizations joining the ‘market to match’ is Nexeo Plastics, a Global oriented distributor in the world plastics for amongst others the Automotive industry. We asked Twan Castenmiller, Commercial Manager for Benelux, what makes them an attractive organization for young talent. "At Nexeo Plastics, we offer an international, dynamic, and digitally advanced workplace with a strong focus on diversity. Our commitment to nurturing young talent through initiatives like the 'rising stars program' and providing extensive growth opportunities sets us apart. Being a Global distributor, we prioritize bringing out the best in individuals and fostering a family-like atmosphere. Our digital infrastructure allows for flexible work hours, catering to the preferences of the younger generation. EMEA, headquartered in Barcelona, we attract and empower talented individuals while emphasizing sustainability and recyclability as key themes. We believe our contribution to reducing CO2 footprints through weight savings in plastics, compared to metal, aligns with our vision for a greener future."
Networking, Exhibitions and demonstrations
The event provided opportunities for networking, with a small exhibition floor facilitating connections between industry professionals and the new generation of talent. As a testament to the symbiotic relationship between education and industry, the event featured presentations of Technical University Eindhoven student teams InMotion and TU/ecomotive and campus resident Summa Automotive. Their presentations underscored the innovative solutions and fresh perspectives that emerging talents bring to the automotive sector. We aksed Esther Maranus, Team Manager of TU/ecomotive, what in her opinion can further prepare students for the job market. She responded “I personally learn a lot about how companies work by being a member of TU/ecomotive. However, I also understand that this is not an option for all pupils or students. That is why I think it would be interesting if shorter but similar projects were offered at every level of education, i.e. MBO, HBO and University educated. Such a project would be worth a number of credits and would be seen as part of the education rather than a distant extension. This would allow everyone to get acquainted with the business world in a low-key way!”
Also Y-Drive demonstrations were part of the program. They showcased cutting-edge mobility solutions, offering attendees a hands-on experience of the future of automotive technology.
Attendees left with a wealth of knowledge about the future of the automotive industry. Jean-Pierre Heijster, Program Manager Manufacturing & Materials at RAI Automotive Industry NL, concludes: “The Annual AutoMeetive is an important contact moment for us with our members, stakeholder and relations. A moment to network, share knowledge and stimulate innovation. Also, a moment to look back at a year full of activities, challenges and successes and to give a look ahead to a year full of new challenges. Again in 2024, we welcome everyone to the Automotive clubhouse at Automotive Campus in Helmond; the heart of the Dutch mobility industry.”
The AutoMEETive 'Next Generation' Winter Event succeeded in not only unraveling the mysteries of the emerging workforce but also in inspiring attendees to embrace sustainability, innovation, and adaptability. The event served as a poignant reminder that the future is now, and those who are ready to embrace change will lead the way into a new era of automotive excellence.